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The great white shark (Carcharodon carcharias) is a much-feared, streamlined swimmer and a ferocious predator with 3,000 teeth at any one time.

Anatomy: The great white shark has a torpedo-shaped body, a pointed snout, a crescent-shaped tail, 5 gill slits, no fin spines, an anal fin, and 3 main fins: the dorsal fin (on its back) and 2 pectoral fins (one on each side). Great whites average 12-16 feet long (3.7-4.9 m) long. Females are larger than males, as with most sharks. When the shark is near the surface, the dorsal fin and part of the tail are visible above the water. Only the underbelly of the great white shark is actually white; its top surface is gray to blue gray.

Diet: Young great white sharks eat fish, rays, and other sharks. Adults eat larger prey, including pinnipeds (sea lions and seals), small toothed whales (like belugas), otters, and sea turtles. They also eat carrion (dead animals that they have found floating dead in the water).

Great whites do not chew their food. Their teeth rip prey into mouth-sized pieces which are swallowed whole.

Classification: Kingdom Animalia, Phylum Chordata, Class Chondrichthyes, Order Lamniformes, Family Lamnidae, Genus Carcharodon, Species C. carcharias.

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